7 Reasons to Bring Your Favorite Furry Friend to MSU’s Teddy Bear Picnic

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

Teddy bear picnic
Have a little one who’s nervous or scared about doctor and hospital visits?
Grab their favorite stuffed animal and plan to attend the Teddy Bear Picnic at Michigan State University this Saturday, September 13.
Children will interact with medical students and volunteers from MSU’s College of Human Medicine, Nursing School, and College of Osteopathic Medicine in a fun, non-threatening atmosphere.
They’ll enter the Blue Cross Blue Shield Teddy Bear Hospital with their furry friend and receive a special insurance card, then accompany their stuffed toy through a number of stops representing different hospital specialties, including kinesiology, neurology, oncology, and many more. A radiology stop will even allow them to get their animal a special x-ray.
The idea behind the event is to help kids get over the fear factor of visiting the doctor or hospital by letting them see that healthcare professionals are nothing to be afraid of. The fair-like atmosphere of the event makes healthcare fun, said Barbara Ball-McClure, MSU College of Human Medicine Outreach and Engagement Coordinator.
Adding to the experience will be a number of attractions:
  • MSU’s own Sparty will pose for pictures with kids from noon to 1 p.m.
  • Members of the MSU women’s basketball team, cheerleaders, and dance team are expected to attend.
  • Kids can tour an ambulance and interact with first responders.
  • The MSU police department will have a motorcycle and one of their K-9 units available.
  • A face painting and balloon animal stop.
  • Kid-friendly exercise demonstrations.
  • Healthy snacks provided by Meijer and the dairy industry.
Medical student Emily Disbrow is volunteering at the Teddy Bear Hospital and helped organize volunteers last year. She said a similar event in her Illinois hometown helped steer her toward medicine after coming home with matching slings for her and her teddy bear.
“If we can reach out to children and excite them about the healthcare field or at least curb their fears about going to the doctor, I feel like in some small way, we can help create a healthier generation,” she said. “Hospitals and doctor’s offices can be really scary places for kids if they are new to the environment or don’t quite comprehend what is happening.”
Besides sponsoring the hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan representatives will be on hand to answer any questions parents have about changing insurance needs and requirements for themselves and their kids.
“Hosting the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Teddy Bear Hospital is a way for us to help our youngest members and their parents prepare for the experiences they are certain to have with doctor and hospital visits. These visits are a big part of childhood and we want them to be as positive an experience as possible,” said B.J. Puchala, Senior Community Liaison for BCBSM.
“It’s also a great opportunity to engage with kids and their parents about the things they can do to stay healthy, like exercising regularly and making informed choices when deciding what to eat.”
The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday at the 4-H Gardens on MSU’s south campus by the Plant and Soil Sciences Building. Enter off Bogue Street, south of Wilson Road and north of Service Road off the southwest corner of the visitor parking lot.

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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